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66 concerning the “ Popish Mass.” Printed at Wittenberg.
A little before his death, his biographer, Melchior Adam, says,'he composed the following verses, to which we have added a translation taken from the Memoir of the late Rev. Mr Toplady, in which it has been given.
Nil superest vitæ, frigus præcordia captat :
Sed tu, CHRISTE, mihi vita perennis ades.
En tibi ductor adest ANGELUS ille tuus.
Quam tibi fida Dei dextera rostituet.
Peccata expurgat sanguine cuncta suo.
Ad quam te CHRISTE gratia certa vocat.
Christus : ad Hunc igitur læta alacrisque migra.
* My fainting life is nearly gone;
And, like its Giver, sure and free.
JOHN BAL F, BISHOP OF OSSORY IN IRELAND.
JOHN BALE was born the twenty-first of November,
in the year 1495, at Cove, a small village in Suffolk, near Dunwich. His parents, whose names were Henry and Margaret, being in poor circumstances, and encumbered with a large family, by the advice of their then popish priests, entered young Balc, at twelve years of age, in the convent of Carmelites at Norwich; and from thence sent him to Jesus-College at Cambridge. He was educated in the Romish religion, but became afterwards a Protestant. " I wandered (says he) in · utter ignorance and blindness 6 of mind both there [Norwich] and at Cambridge, having « no tutor or patron ; till, the word of GOĎ shining " forth, the churches began to return to the pure foun- tains of true divinity. In which bright rising of the “ New Jerusalem, being not called by any monk or priest, " but seriously stirred up by the illustrious the lord Wentor worth, as by that centurion who declared Christ to be « the Son of GOD, I presently saw and acknowledged “ my own deformity, and immediately, through the Di66 vine Goodness, I was removed from a barren mountain as to the flowery and fertile valley of the gospel, where I " found all things built, not on the sand, but on a solid « rock. Hence I made haste to deface the mark of wicked « antichrist, and entirely threw off his yoke from me, 66 that I might be partaker of the lot and liberty of the « sons of GOD. And that I might never more serve o so execrable a beast, I took to wife the faithful Dorothy, « in obedience to that divine command, Let him that can
comfort to him in his future exiles and troubles, which not long afterwards were permitted to fall upon him.
His conversion, and publicly preaching against the popish doctrines, however, greatly exposed him to the persecution of the Romish clergy; and he must have felt their keenest resentment, had he not been protected by the famous lord Cromwell, then in high favour with Henry VIII.
But upon the death of that nobleman, Bale, being pressed with the celebrated six articles, (commonly called the whip with six strings,) was forced to retire into the Low-countries, where he resided seven or eight days during which time he wrote several pieces, chiefly against the Romish superstitions, in the English language. He was recalled into England by K. Edward VI. and presented to the living of Bishopstoke, in the county of Southampton. While our Author lived retired at Bishopstoke, about five miles from Southampton, (about which time he lived in great familiarity with the excellent bishop Ponet of Winchester, the king went to Southampton, where Bale waited upon him. His majesty, who had been informed that he was dead, was surprised to see him, and, the bishopric of Ossory in Ireland being then vacant, summoned his privy-council, and appointed him, (August 15th, 1552,) to that see: Whereupon the lords present wrote the following letter to our Author.
• To our very lovinge friende Doctour Bale. After rour hartye commendacyons. For as much as the Kinges • Majestie is minded in consideracyon of your learninge, wysdome, and other vertuouse qualiiyes, to bestowe
upon you the bishopricke of Ossorie in Irelande presently « voyde, we have thought mete both to give you knowledge
thereof, and therewithall to lete you understande, that his • Majestie wolde ye made your repayre hyther to the courte as soon as conveniently ye may, to the end, that if ye be
inclined to embrace this charge, his highnesse may at ( your comynge give such ordre for the farther procedinge - with you herin, as shall be convenient. And thus we bid s you hartily farewell. From Southampton the 16th daye s of August 1552. Your lovinge friendes, W. Winchestre, « J. Bedford, H. Suffolke, W. Northampton, T. Darcy, T. • Cheine, J. Gate, W. Cecill.
Our Author tells us, in his piece entitled, “ The Vo“ cacyion of John Bale to the bishopricke of Ossorie in « Irelande, &c.” that he refused this offer at first, alledging his poverty, age, and want of health ; but the king not admitting this excuse, Dr Bale went to London about six weeks after, where every thing relating to his election and confirmation were dispatched in a few days, without any manner of charge or expence. On the nineteenth of December, in the same year, he set out, with his books and other effects, and arrived at Bristol, where he waited twenty-six days for a passage to Ireland. On the twentyfirst of January, he embarked, with his wife and one servant, and in two days arrived at Waterford; and from thence went by land to Dublin. On the twenty-fifth of March following, he was consecrated at Dublin by the archbishop of Dublin, assisted by the bishops of Kildare and Down; and at the same time Hugh Goodacre, a particular friend of our Author, was consecrated archbishop of Armagh. He underwent a variety of persecutions from the popish party in Ireland, while he used his utmost endeavours, in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity, to correct the leud practices and debaucheries of the priests, to abolish the mass, and to establish the use of the new book of Common Prayer set forth in England; but all his labours of this kind were put a stop to by the death of K. Edward, and the accession of Q. Mary, and himself exposed so much to the rage and fury of the Papists, that his life was frequently endangered. Once in particular, they murdered five of his domestics, who were making hay in a meadow near his house, and would probably have attempted the same upon him, if the governor of Kilkenny, hearing of it, had not come to his defence with an hundred horsemen, and three hundred footmen. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that he expended the whole nearly of his episcopal revenue in acts of piety and beneficence. Yet no liberality or goodness could stop the rage of his popish adversaries, who were implacably offended at his preaching the doctrines of the gospel, and at the success which GOĎ was pleased to give it.
At length, the bishop receiving intimations, that the Romish priests were conspiring his death, he withdrew from his see, and lay concealed in Dublin. Afterwards, endeavouring to make his escape in a small trading vessel in that port, he was taken prisoner by the captain of a Dutch man of war, who rifled him of all his money, apparel, and effects. This ship was drove by stress of weather into St Ives in Cornwall, where our prelate was taken up on suspicion of treason. The accusation was brought against the bishop by one Walter an Irishman, who was pilot of the Dutch ship, in hopes of coming in for a share of the bishop's money, which was in the captain's hands. When our Author was brought to his examination before one of the bailiffs of the town, he desired the bailiff to ask Walter, how long he had known him, and what treason he, [the bishop,] had committed. Walter replied, he had never heard of, nor seen him, till he was brought into that ship.
Then said the bailiff, What treason have you known by this honest gentleman ? For I promise you he looks
bailifte betosiness into Scormou any rund for bishon have
like an honest man. Marry, said Walter, he would have fled into Scotland. (The vessel in which the bishop embarked in the port of Dublin was bound for Scotland.) Why, said the bailiff, know you any impediment why he should not have gone into Scotland ? If it be treason for a man, having business in Scotland, to go thither, it is more than I knew before. Walter was so confounded by what the bailiff said, that he had nothing to reply. In the interim, the captain and purser coming in deposed in favour of the bishop, assuring the bailiff that he was a very honest man, and that Walter was a vile fellow, and deserved no credit. For the captain, our author observes, was afraid lest the money he had stripped him of should be taken out of his hands.
The bishop being discharged, they sailed from thence, and after a passage of several days, the ship arrived in Dover Road, where the poor bishop was again put in danger by a false accusation. One Martin, a Frenchman by birth, but an English pirate, persuaded the Dutch captain and his crew, that our Author had been the principal instrument in putting down the mass in England, and in keeping the bishop of Winchester, Dr Gardiner, so long in the tower; and that he had poisoned the king. With this information, the captain and purser-went ashore, carrying with them our Author's episcopal seal, and two letters sent him from Conrad Gesner, and Alexander Alesius, with commendations from Pellican, Pomeranus, P. Melancthon, Joachimus Camerarius, Matthias Flaccius, and other learned men, who were desirous to inform themselves in the doctrines and antiquities of the English church. They had likewise taken from him the letter from the council, concerning his appointment to the bishopric of Ossory. These things aggravated the charge against him. For the episcopal seal was construed to be a counterfeiting of the king's seal, the two letters were heretical, and the council's letter a conspiracy against the queen. When the captain returned to the ship, it was proposed to carry the bishop to London ; but at length they resolved to send the purser and one more, with a message to the council in relation to the affair. However, this resolution was drop, ped, upon our Author's strong remonstrances to the captain, and his agreement to pay fifty pounds for his ransom, on his arrival in Holland. ,
He was carried into Zealand, and lodged in the house of one of the four owners of the ship, who treated the bishop with great civility and kindness. He had but